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15 Jun, 2023 11:37

Latin American country joins Russia’s Visa alternative 

Venezuela has begun to accept Mir cards, the head of the country’s central bank announced at SPIEF
Latin American country joins Russia’s Visa alternative 

Venezuelan banks have begun to accept Mir cards, Russia’s alternative to Visa and Mastercard, the head of the country’s central bank, Calixto Jose Ortega Sanchez, revealed at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Thursday.

The Latin American country announced it was willing to join the Mir payment system last year and has since been in talks over the step. The Russian Embassy in Venezuela previously said that if Caracas connected to Mir, this would “create stable conditions for settlements in national currencies” between the two countries.

Russia’s Mir payment system has experienced a steady increase in demand for new cards since last year, according to the system’s operator. Around ten countries worldwide currently use the system, while roughly 15 others have expressed interest in adopting it.

The head of Myanmar’s central bank declared at SPIEF on Wednesday that his country would start accepting Mir cards by December. An agreement was also recently reached with Iran.

In March, Cuba announced the launch of Russia’s alternative to Western payment cards. Several banks in Havana have installed ATMs displaying the logo of the Mir system, and offer the option to withdraw cash using Russian bank cards in Cuban pesos.

Russia started developing its own national payment system after the US targeted it with sanctions in 2014. After Moscow was hit with further sanctions last year in response to the launch of its military operation in Ukraine, including the blocking of many Russian banks from SWIFT, the government began to promote its domestic version, SPFS, as a reliable alternative. The Russian system ensures the transfer of funds between banks inside and outside the country.

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